Bihar: BJP turned tragedy into opportunity; Nitish Kumar misread pitch

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BJP turns tragedy into opportunity
Did the October 27 blasts give a welcome opportunity to Narendra Modi and BJP? Certainly yes. In fact, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate yet again embarked on a first relief mission outside his state by visiting the families of the six persons who were killed in the serial blasts in Patna.

He had played a similar role in Uttarakhand in the wake of a natural disaster earlier this year and his visit had raised a massive storm in the political circles. These visits by Modi play an effective role in boosting his image as a national leader and the one-dqay trip to Patna is no different.

As Nitish began to be aggressive, BJP played soft politics

The October 27 blasts have put Nitish Kumar in a bigger spot than Modi and while the former tried to tackle the challenge by rising his voice against the 'communal' forces at various platforms, be it a convention of his own party or that of the Third Front convened by the Left Front, the BJP and Modi apparently to play it with a soft hand.

Did Nitish Kumar hand over a strategic advantage to his rival leader? Again a big yes. The Bihar chief minister has certainly failed to shed the political baggage that pseudo-secularism brings with it in this country and the biggest beneficiary of the compulsion was Modi.

Was it prudent for Nitish to bash Modi when his own state is in trouble?

Kumar's administration has been at unease since the Bodh Gaya blasts in July. The public reaction against his authorities' maintaining a low profile on the arrest of Indian Mujahideen mastermind Yasin Bhatkal and now, the charges that the Bihar administration did not care despite being warned about the Patna blasts have given the Opposition enough ammunition to corner him. The tragedy is that Bihar began to meet the adversity after Kumar ended his alliance with the BJP and the latter has kept the JD(U) administration on its toes over every tragedy, be it a midday meal fiasco or terror attacks.

Is Nitish Kumar feeling rattled?

The decision to terminate relation with the BJP with less than a year to go before the polls has opened multiple warfronts for the Bihar chief minister. And while he is still trying to justify his move, there is a feeling that Kumar is slowly getting rattled and hence raising his anti-Modi pitch more.

He, along with Mulayam Singh Yadav, chose to attack the 'communal' forces in the country from the stage of the Third Front convention but the fact is that their own governments in two key states have not succeeded in curbing communal tension, be it in the form of riots or terror attacks.

UP riots and Bihar terror acts have given Modi an upper edge

But both should understand that by imitating the Congress's desperate ploy of targetting Modi to hide its own failure in governance, they won't reach anywhere and on the other hand, Modi will be given a nice opportunity to fill up the vacuum in the politics of the two big states in north India, something which the BJP dreams about.

Was it important for Nitish to go on an offensive at this time?

Was it more important for Nitish Kumar to speak against communal forces in Delhi in the wake of a tragedy or remain in his own state? It was certainly a blunder that Modi capitalised on by flying to Patna to meet the families of the blast victims. Modi's visit to Bihar to meet blast victims was also an irony.

What an irony! Nitish had once refused Modi & even his govt's relief offer

For in the past, the Bihar chief minister refused to allow him an entry in the state and also declined Gujarat's help for flood victims. On November 2, Modi will not only hand over the cheques but also do as much campaigning in remote parts of the state as possible, although informally. Three of the six deceased belong to Other Backward Castes, extremely backward castes and Mahadalits, something which also brings a caste angle into the story. He will also meet state BJP leaders in person and speak on strategies for the poll. For Nitish, this is enough to remain concerned.

BJP's politics of sorrow is aimed at reaping full benefit

The state BJP is cashing in on the October 27 blasts with full energy and roping in Narendra Modi has helped their cause immensely. The leaders visited the funerals of the dead, arranged for compensation and has is also holding an Asthi Kalash Yatra with the ash of the victims. For Nitish Kumar on the other hand, his image as one of the best chief ministers in the country has suddenly begun to take a beating, and that too just six months ahead of the big polls.

Just bashing Modi won't help Kumar. He must tighten his defence before going on the offence.

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